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Queensland, Australia, just announced a ban on the sale of dangerous single-use plastic bags! Starting July 2018, plastic bags will disappear from stores across the state. The government is also introducing a drink container refund scheme, which means a monetary refund for giving empty containers away for recycling.

According to a statement from the Queensland government, the new Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 (which introduced the refund scheme and the plastic bag ban) was passed by State Parliament on September 5, 2017. Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, pointed out that the bill is going to “stop the scourge of plastic shopping bags” and that the new legislation is an especially clear signal that wildlife in the state is valued and that citizens want their parks and waterways to be free of litter.

Businesses selling single-use plastic bags after the introduction of the bill will run the risk of being fined up to 3,000 dollars.

Under the container refund scheme, most drink containers between 150 milliliters and three liters will be eligible for a 10 cent refund.

The scheme is strongly supported by the Waste Recycling Industry Association (Qld) Inc whose CEO, Rick Ralph, highlighted that the introduction of the new system is going to give Queenslanders access to a recycling system which, up until now, has been limited in remote and regional areas.

Container refund schemes similar to this one have already been put in place in South Australia and the Northern Territory. New South Wales is to bring in a refund scheme in December 2017. Bans on single-use plastic bags are also present in other parts of Australia.

Thanks to the new legislation, “Queenslanders can look forward to cleaner parks, beaches, and public areas.” It is also a great step taken by yet another government towards reducing the amount of plastic waste littering our planet. Every year, we throw around 8.8 million tons of plastic into the oceans and, in general, 91 percent of all plastic we produce is not recycled. Bans on single-use plastics are an indispensable part of managing the plastic waste crisis and saving the environment from this immense threat.

To learn how to minimize your own plastic footprint, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: cocoparisienne/Pixabay